TOMORROW’s Cesarewitch Handicap (3.40pm) at Newmarket is like Flat racing’s Grand National - attractive prize money, a monster field, and a race that’s almost impossible to find the winner of!
A maximum of 34 will fight it out and it’s difficult to rule out many of the runners, especially as two 66/1 shots and a 50/1 chance have landed this contest in the previous five years.
Again, this year’s contest looks wide open, but I’m still keen on the chances of JOHN CONSTABLE, who is 8/1 favourite with 188BET.
Evan Williams’ dual-performer could leave the handicapper gasping off his current mark of just 88.
Before switching to Williams’ Welsh base, John Constable won a Navan maiden under the care of Aidan O’Brien and hit a rating of 94.
Many work on the idea that if you take the jumps rating – 156 in John Constable’s case – and deduct 45lbs, then that’s what they should be rated on the Flat.
Well, if that’s the case, my selection is 23lbs well in here. Not only could he be extremely well handicapped, the good ground looks ideal, this marathon trip is of no concern and he has champion jockey Jim Crowley in the saddle.
At double John Constable’s odds comes 2016 Ebor runner-up SHREWD.
He ran a respectable 12th of 33 in this race a year ago and there’s plenty to suggest he can improve on that significantly this time around.
The Ebor was the race his trainer Iain Jardine targeted last year and a crack atthe Cesarewitch was probably more of an afterthought.
Third in the trial for this race three weeks ago, the seven-year-old comes into the race in good form this time around and looks to have another big run in him before being put away for the winter.
He races off a 6lb lower mark than last year, Jamie Gormley takes off an extra 7lbs and he’s nicely drawn in stall nine. The 16/1 with 188BET looks too good to turn down.
Away from the big handicap of the day and looking towards the card’s Group One affair, the stage is set for a fantastic renewal of the Dewhurst Stakes (3.00pm).
It is hard to looks past Expert Eye after his impressive win in the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, coming on only his second caeer start.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained coltis currently a clear favourite for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, so it’s no wonder he heads the betting for this weekend’s contest.
He was due to run at the Curragh a month ago, but gave a dirty scope which ruled him out of the trip to Ireland.
This is no easy race to return to and, although he may well be the best horse in the race, odds of 4/7 look too short.
I can’t help but be drawn to US NAVY FLAG, for the all-conquering O’Brien yard. His pillar-to-post win in the Group One Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs last time out suggested that tomorrow’s step up in trip shouldn’t be a problem.
Providing Ryan Moore can get a good break from stall one and make his way over to the favoured stands rail, he should run really well and looks a good each-way bet at 8/1.
USNavy Flag e/w 3.00pm Newmarket
John Constable e/w 3.40pm Newmarket
Shrewd e/w 3.40pm Newmarket